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Paul Dwyer Celebrates Anniversary by Honoring the Sisters

Sisters view one of the displays at Paul Dwyer High School.
On Sept. 8, 2012, a bright Sunday afternoon, at 2 pm, Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School in Oshawa kicked off its 50th Anniversary Celebrations with a Mass and Reception to honour the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Fifteen Sisters served as administrators and teachers at the school during the period of 1965 to 1991.
 
Sr. Anne Schenck remembered how the Sisters of St. Joseph came to teach in Oshawa, "Monsignor Paul Dwyer had formerly taught at Holy Cross High School in Welland, Ontario, and therefore understood the value of a Catholic education,” she said. “When he approached our congregation to begin a Catholic high school in Oshawa, Sister Maura McGuire, our general superior, sent Sr. Mary Sheila O’Neil and Sr. Constance, who opened grade 9 in St. Joseph's School in 1962.”
 
Fifty years later, Paul Dwyer provided a limo to bring the Sisters to the door of St. Mary of the People Church in Oshawa. Individual students accompanied the Sisters to their place in the church. Sisters were given wrist corsages.
 
“The vocation of teaching young people is a most rewarding career at the best of times,” said Sr. Conrad Lauber, remembering the excitement of helping shape the traditions and standards of excellence in the early years of the new venture. “But to be principal in a newly founded school, with Monsignor Dwyer still alive and his dream a vibrant inspirational moment, and growing with the school while it doubled its size, with a dedicated staff, and parents and students and parish priests keen about the vision of the school, was a priceless experience.”
 
There was a definite buzz in the entrance of the church as former students met teachers and principals from long ago and caught up. The Mass interwove past and present, involving former teachers, administrators and graduates and current students in a deeply meaningful Eucharist.
 
“This 50th Anniversary celebration was wonderful for me,” said Sr. Anne Schenck. “I was at the school from September 1965 to June 1968, teaching the grade 12 class who were the first grade 9 group in 1962. When I returned in September 1979 to June 1988, I was principal for the sons and daughters of those early students. That gave me an overview which few others have. I enjoyed meeting again many students whom I had taught in those early years, as well as teachers with whom I had taught or whom I had hired."
 
A reception followed at the high school itself, where displays held pictures and stories of Dwyer’s past and cakes and finger food was on offer as participants mixed and mingled.
 
“This is their day,” said teacher and member of the steering committee Joe Szekeres, of the Sisters, “One on which we honour and express gratitude for all they have done for education in Durham.”
 
By Gisela Côté
Photos by Tom Armonstrong, Lauren O’Neill, Elizabeth Cowling, and Gisela Côté
 
 
The celebration Mass at St. Mary of the People Church.
 
 
From l. to r. Sisters Mary Buckley, Theresa Rodgers, Kathleen Conway and Pat Conway during the Mass.
 
 
A side shot of Sisters Kathleen Conway, Pat Conway, Conrad Lauber and Jane Wilcox.
 
 
From l. to r. Sisters Mary Buckley, Theresa Rodgers, Kathleen Conway and Pat Conway during the Mass.
 

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